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A Beginners Guide to Choosing the Best Backdrop for Photography & Video (Part I)

7 Minute Read

The holy trinity of studio photography is camera gear, lighting, and a backdrop. An appropriate background makes your subject stand out as the prime focal point of the shot while adding mood and tone. This blog post will explain how different types of backdrop materials, such as paper, flat lay, muslin, pull-up, and pop-up backdrops, can enhance specific situations. It will also explore how the colour of your backdrop has to be considered when you want to generate feelings about the person or product you are photographing. It’s a beginner’s guide to backdrops, but seasoned professionals could gain inspiration from our latest range of colourful products, so please read on!



Planning Your Shoot

Paper rolls and cotton muslin backdrops are multi-functional: they can be used behind a subject, under a subject or both. They can provide a seamless transition from foreground to background. When plain colours are used this way, nothing competes for the viewer’s attention, and their eyes remain locked on your subject. The person or product you are photographing becomes the show’s undisputed star. Rolls of backdrop material are necessary for the studio when photographing fashion, doing beauty shots, shooting products and snapping portraits.

For those who specialise in styling food photography or small commercial products for catalogues, flat lays are another ideal form of backdrop. As well as featuring plain colours, flat lays consist of realistic textures and scenes, such as tiled walls, marble bench tops, and rustic wooden tables. Backdrops do more than provide a setting for an image; they often set the mood of the shot and work in conjunction with the subject for an overall effect. Keep this in mind when planning your shoot so you can create harmony between the background, subject, and the impression you aim to generate in the viewer’s mind.

To prepare for your next shoot, consider making a mood board to establish your goals and to collect ideas of how various backdrops will affect the look of your subject. When you decide the type of backdrop you require and the colours that will highlight your subject, send this mood board to your collaborators, so they understand the concept you want to achieve. It will help them realise what is expected of them.

Selecting the right backdrop colour is essential because it subconsciously impacts the viewer. This is especially important for shots destined for social media, where you must catch the viewer’s attention before they scroll past. A block of bright colour makes a photo stand out, demanding the eyes to stop and focus. When used as a background for a portrait, a vibrant hue sets the image’s tone, indicating an upbeat, fun, and lively personality. The Colour Pop Collection of half-length paper rolls from Spectrum is perfect for bold portraits of big personalities. These non-reflective rolls are popular for product shots, fashion shoots, beauty photography, and portraits of future superstars. Vloggers and other content creators love these backdrops because they effortlessly boost the mood of any scene.

Not everyone wants to be a pop princess, however. Corporate headshots and product shots for e-commerce usually require neutral backdrop colours, such as white, grey, or black. You don’t need a whole studio to do headshots and product photography; a simple pull-up screen will suffice. It’s portable, easy to set up and offers a pristine backdrop for video calls, online coaching, commercial photography and videography.




Material Vs Colour

Adding a splash of colour to your portrait photography is easy with seamless paper backdrops and cotton muslin backdrops. Apart from the big decision of which colour is going to work best for your subject, you must also consider the nature of the material.

Paper rolls have the advantage of an infinity sweep for a seamless floor-to-wall transition. And when it becomes trashed and creased underfoot, cut it off and roll out some fresh paper. It’s so affordable that you can have a variety of colours on standby to produce a vast number of alternate shots with minimal effort. Or, if you require consistency as an influencer or designer of a website, there’s no doubt you’ll find a paper roll to match your brand’s colours. Paper backdrops have a clean look that allows all the attention to be taken by your subject. White and light-coloured rolls have a subtle effect of a background that isn’t noticed by the conscious mind. With a dark paper roll behind the subject, they become a bold statement, illuminated against a dramatic backdrop.

An alternative to a smooth paper roll is a cotton muslin backdrop. Muslin has a soft natural texture, with curtain-like ripples for a gentle and flowing effect. They are available in sizes for half-body to full-body shots. The pastel-coloured muslins are an appealing, natural backdrop, while the ones in darker tones suggest mystery.




Plain
Vs Pattern

When you want your portrait subjects to command the scene, you must give them that opportunity by not including distracting elements in the background. A selection of plain backdrops is a necessity in all photographic studios. White, grey and black are traditional choices for headshots and standard portrait poses, as they don’t clash with clothing, hair colour, and skin tones. These colours are also required in product photography. Some e-commerce platforms only allow white or grey backgrounds. With your website or when creating content for Instagram, you are free to express your creative side! Adding colour to your product shoot gives the photo a boost of energy.

ProBoards rigid flat lay backdrops are solid, smooth, and stylish photography backdrops with the X-factor. They are easy to set up and become exciting additions to any form of product photos and food photography. If you want to know how to make Instagram content more engaging, flat lays are the answer.

Although plain backdrops allow the viewer to focus on the subject, sometimes you want the whole image to jump out at a viewer. That’s where patterned backdrops have a visual effect that can’t be matched. For example, a loud, kaleidoscopic tie-dyed version is festive and funky without being overbearing. This type of muslin backdrop is unapologetically full of hippie charm. It’s a fun add-on to your collection of backdrops. You’ll love using it for photos of children and in high-end fashion photography that makes a statement.




Which One is Right for You?

Setting up a studio is exciting, but it can also be confusing when deciding between paper rolls, muslin backdrops and flat-lay backdrops. Especially when you also have to consider which colours to choose. Making a decision must be based on the type of photography you expect to specialise in. Most photographers require a roll of white paper and non-reflective black paper. These cover the essentials of portrait photography and product shots. Fashion and glamour photographers should also take advantage of cotton muslin rolls for their soft, textured characteristics. Your photos are bound to turn out sensational, whichever roll you choose and whatever colour you purchase.

 


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